July 30, 2015


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Flood forecaster nixes Manitobans' spring-break border runs

Manitobans planning a trip to Fargo over the spring break should make other plans, the province’s senior flood forecaster advised this afternoon.

While the crest on the Red River isn’t expected to hit Manitoba until the middle of April, Alf Warkentin said routes into Fargo will likely be under water March 28 to April 4 — when schools across the province will be closed and many families head south for a short break.

Water from the Red River spills over its banks covering a side road near the town of Morris in 2006. Highway 75 was closed as flood waters rose that year, but the town of Morris was accessible  through traffic diversions.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Water from the Red River spills over its banks covering a side road near the town of Morris in 2006. Highway 75 was closed as flood waters rose that year, but the town of Morris was accessible through traffic diversions. Photo Store

"Everything from Grand Forks north should be all right but Fargo ... even if there is no storm this weekend, they’re expecting flooding that week," Warkentin said following a news conference to update flood conditions across the province.

A storm that’s expected to dump up to 25 millilitres of rain across southern Manitoba and North Dakota on Sunday and Monday could dramatically alter the flood forecast for the Red River Valley, but Warkentin said the province is waiting to see if it actually rains before adjusting the forecast issued earlier this week.

Flood conditions similar to those experienced in 2006 is expected across the province this spring, with water flowing over the banks of the Red River in several locations.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Steve Ashton said the province has been bracing for a flood of this nature since the flood of 1997, but added that improvements and measures put in the place in the last 12 years will minimize any threats from flooding.

"Even with all the flood prevention improvements, we’re prepared for this," Ashton said.

Warkentin said that when the Red River rises to its crest in mid-April, extensive flooding is expected on farm lands through much of the Souris River and Pembina River valleys.

In some areas, Warkentin said, the Souris River could be almost five kilometres wide.

There is little likeliehood of flooding along the Assiniboine River watershed, he said.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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